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Apple’s next leap into the television space could be much different than what the company is offering with its Apple TV set-top box.

Apple is rumored to be in discussions with a handful of television providers about a new premium subscription service that would allow users to both watch live programming and auto-skip commercial breaks through the Apple TV itself. The information comes from an anonymous source that spoke to former Wall Street Journal reporter Jessica Lessin. We’re reaching out to Apple for a comment about its TV plans and will update the post with any new information.

The current Apple TV allows owners to play media that they’ve purchased or stored via iTunes, access third-party video services (Netflix, Hulu Plus, MLB.com, etc.), and display their OS X or iOS device’s screen on their television via Airplay. Letting people access live programming on Apple TV would essentially replace the cable or satellite box that’s issued by TV providers.

If true, I can’t imagine Apple is getting very far in its discussions with TV providers. Anything that skips commercial breaks would basically make their ability to sell advertising less effective — and in turn, eat into their ad revenue. This is especially true because a handful of major media companies are suing Dish Network due to its Hopper DVR box’s auto-skip commercial feature.

According to Lessin’s source, Apple wants to charge a monthly fee that would help compensate TV providers and media companies for any lost revenue that comes from the ad-skipping feature. That means it’ll likely be expensive for consumers, and still require them to pay the regular cable/satellite TV subscription fees. (Of course, its entirely possible that you won’t get access to all channels/networks through the Apple TV service, but then what’s the point?)

Last week Apple was also rumored to bring a third-party app from Time Warner Cable to its Apple TV. Presumably this app would give users access to over 300 channels (provided they already subscribe to a monthly cable TV package), which is similar to TWC’s Roku. iOS, and Xbox 360 apps.

Via CNET

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